NEW FIND FROM SOUTH AFRICA - OLMIITE specimens|
One of the few really new, exciting finds of any quantity at Munich
2008 and then, in more fullness, at Tucson 2009, was of these
beautiful specimens of a new species: Olmiite. This is the same
mineral formerly (mistakenly) thought to be the species poldervaartite
from a previous find at this same mine, circa 2003. New scientific
work has shown them to be, in fact, a new species entirely
(poldervaartite remaining a valid species, but the only valid African
specimens being from 1980s finds at the Wessels). No good material had
been hit since 2003 or so, and the best specimens of this pocket are a
world above the former production in my opinion, anyhow. Many other
specimens from this pocket, as you will see below, are just of a
different style altogether from the previous find, which had more
discrete crystals and less of the beautiful rounded aggrregate
clusters we now can obtain. What is nice is that, by and large, these
are (relatively) reasonably priced for such a beautiful new species
that forms attractive specimens. And, as a bonus, there is plenty to
go around so beyond the few top-tier pieces, prices are mostly under
$1000 for really fine specimens that are superb for the species but
don't break the bank.
Note that these are extraordinarily color-sensitive to the light
spectrum in which they are viewed. They are more red/pink in
spectrum-balanced halogen or normal sunlight, and more peach/pink in
fluorescent lighting. Our photos are taken with sun-balanced Halogen
bulbs and the specimens appear as they would in balanced light (and
not overdone with color adjustments) with the lightsource placed at a
foot or so away. Additional shots showing a "glow" are produced by
holding a halogen light to within 4 inches of the piece, to show it
backlit more strongly, but again without enhancement.
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A glistening, sugary, wet-looking, translucent ball of crystals, of the best colored olmiite you can ask for from the find. This 3-dimensional spherical agrgegate of gemmy crystals is FAR BEYOND the norm in quality. In person, the difference is more obvious - as indicated by the price. The size of this spherical cluster is also quite large for the find - few of this size were found without damage or breaks. This one is complete save for a small contact in the upper-right edge, facing to the side and rear. It is 3.75 cm across, perched dramatically on a small pedestal of manganese ore matrix.
With top color, highest lustre, and execptional aesthetics, this is probably my favorite miniature for overall combination of outright mineralogical quality and "style" in the form of eye appeal. The large all atop is 2 cm. The cluster is complete around the backside, anchored by the sparkling calcite to either side. Superb, competition quality miniature!
An unusual specimen with blocky, more discrete crystals to 1.5 cm . Excellent, deeper red color on this specimen, combined with high lustre!
A juicy, very colorful piece with highest lustre and crystal size to 2.5 cm. There is no damage to the display face, although some contacts to teh sides and rear of the specimen. Still, it shows wonderfully and has luscious, deep color and, again, about the highest lustre you can get. Overall, very aesthetic
A particularly elegant specimen with clusters to 1.2 cm
This is a special, nearly unique specimen to my eye - a real euhedral, big crystal of olmiite on which a sparkling druse of second-generation olmiite has formed. So, it is not a spherical aggregate like the rest, but a real crystal, showing stereotypic crystal form underneath the sparkling pink overlay! The color is not the intense red-pink hue, but rather a more neutral pink-peach mix. Still, it is sparkly and very pretty. Note from the backlit shot that it is translucent internally. All crystals are complete, and pristine without any damage whatsoever, all around. The larger crystal measures 1.7 cm. Such specimens are rare, in this find.
An elegant cluster of olmiite crystals to 1.1 cm
With top color, highest lustre, and execptional aesthetics, this is also one of my favorite miniatures for overall combination of outright mineralogical quality and "style" in the form of eye appeal. The large all atop is 2.1 cm. The cluster is not complete around the backside, but is complete and pristine on front for the display face, makign it a super showy miniature at what seems a very fair price, to me.
A beautiful 2.5-cm-tall cluster of the most sparkling quality olmiites, perched on equally sparkling calcite!
A glistening, wet-looking, colorful small cabinet specimen with a color that would best be described as neither red/pink nor peach, but somewhere in between. This is a large, showy piece with only a small contact at the top but otherwise complete on the front - so, no significant damage to the display face despite its size. For the price, it is hard to find a piece of such size with top lustre and no damage, so I regard this as an excellent value.
A rather unusual specimen featuring, instead of a spherical aggregate of small crystals, rather large crystals arranged in a radial spray. In fact, we have here two crystal groups, one atop the other. This piece was unique in my lot of around 100 pieces, and I have still nto seen another quite like it. It has good color, but effectively no sparkle - it has a matte lustre to the surface. Still, it is dramatic, large, and i think significant for the species in the size and habit of these radially grown larger crystals (to 4 cm). The association seems to be pectolite, but I haven't had it tested to be sure. None of my other specimens have this matrix, leading me to suspect this unusual specimen was formed under threshold conditions at the edge of the main pocket, apart from the rest.
Beautiful, sparkling olmiite spherical aggregates to 2.2 cm, make this a rolling 3-dimensional specimen with a lot of eye appeal. This is a very showy miniature with a lot of coverage and flash for the price.
This is a special, nearly unique specimen to my eye - a real euhedral, big crystal of olmiite on which a sparkling druse of second-generation olmiite has formed. So, it is not a spherical aggregate like the rest, but a real crystal, showing stereotypic crystal form underneath the sparkling pink overlay! The color is not the intense red-pink hue, but rather a more neutral pink-peach mix. Still, it is sparkly and very pretty. Note from the backlit shot that it is translucent internally. Both crystals are complete, and pristine without any damage whatsoever, all around. The larger crystal measures 2.7 cm. Such specimens are rare, in this find.
At 4 cm, this is one of the larger, complete spherical aggregates of olmiite found, in good condition. It is complete ALL around, with just a few minor contacts on the backside marring otherwise spherical symmetry. It has the best sparkling glassy lustre, and has a juicy red-pink color. This is a signifiant piece for a rare species, but more than that it is a beautiful mineral specimen, period: a 4-cm floater ball of color, that is just amazing to see in person. I understand that very few of this quality AND completeness were found, from my sources. The cluster is attractively perched on a bit of matrix, accented by little calcites.
I obtained, through a friend and a lot of trust, over 100 specimens in the first picks of this pocket, while it was still fresh in South Africa. We are fairly familiar with what came out, and how my top specimens rank in the context of the pocket as a whole. It is safe to say that only a handful, perhaps 4-5 specimens, had spherical clusters of this size and quality. This ball of olmiite is 6.5 x 6 x 6 cm in size - through the roof for the species and the find! The cluster is 3-dimensional and complete all around except for some VERY minor bruising or growth contact spots, trivial in context. It sits on matrix of manganese ore, nicely accented by smaller olmiite clusters and gemmy little calcite crystals. This is a MAJOR specimen for the species, for South Africa, and just for pretty red rocks of any kind. While it does not have the top lustre of other pieces here, it has sheer size, and the color impact that goes with it; and is thus quite significant for the find.
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Rob Lavinsky, email@example.com
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